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Good Physical Therapy SEO Starts with Some Simple Planning
New doctors and physical therapists building their practices websites can greatly improve their reach by targeting physical therapy SEO keywords. But how do you know what words to target? Here are the steps to keyword research you’ll need to implement in order to start your SEO marketing strategy, specified for physical therapists and their work.
To start, it’s important to brainstorm a list of keywords that you know will pertain to your office. This list would include (but is not limited to):
- your name/your brand (Ex. Dr. Edward Smith Therapy/First Coast Physical Therapy)
- physical therapy + your location
- typical injuries your office treats (whiplash/car accident injuries, sports injuries, back pain)
- therapy modalities you implement
Once You Pick Keywords, Then Put Them Through This Test
There are four factors to consider when choosing keywords that you will include on your website.
- Relevant Keywords – this is pretty simple to understand. Relevant keywords are those keywords that your market niche will use to search for you. A PT practice owner in Cleveland might have the thought that he/she should try to rank for a term like “low back pain treatment in Cleveland”. However, you have to ask yourself this question, “If I rank, will people click on the link and actually call my office?” Based on search engine rankings and the traffic that these terms (e.g. low back pain treatment in Cleveland) generate, I would argue that in most cases, there are some higher priority marketing efforts you should invest in first. Physical therapists are not thought of as a primary care providers the healthcare system…yet. If you are going to try to rank for terms like “low back pain treatment in Cleveland”, you will need to rank for a large number of these terms to generate enough traffic to convert website visitors to patients.
- Competition – if you are a new practice with a new website, and you are in a big city like NYC, there’s little chance you will rank in the next 6-12 months. Google ranks website that have domain authority and lots of backlinks. It takes time and a lot of effort from a good SEO company to rank in major markets. It can be done but it is a long-term strategy.
- High Traffic Keywords – during your keyword analysis, you should use a tool like the Google Keyword Planner to estimate the number of searches that are done for a given keyword. This is closely related to the concept of relevance. If your target audience rarely searches for a given keyword, or isn’t likely to click on the Google link, of you do rank, it’s not worth the effort. On the other hand, if there is an acceptable amount of traffic and the market isn’t too competitive, then you should add this keyword to your list.
- Commerciality – after you determined that a keyword is a relevant term, there isn’t too much competition, and there is enough people searching for the term, then you want to think about commerciality. This term describes the likelihood that someone will click on your keyword and call your office. It’s best illustrated with an example. Let’s say that you are considering ranking for the keyword “physical therapy Cleveland”. The other keyword you are considering is “physical therapist Cleveland”. Both are relevant to your practice. Neither are too competitive (i.e. with reasonable time and effort you could rank on page 1 of Google). Both have a significant number of searches (high traffic). Physical therapy is know to the public as a service and not a profession (this too is changing IMHO). Therefore, the search “physical therapy Cleveland” is a better term to rank for. If you had to choose a keyword term to spend your time and money to try to rank for, then you would choose “physical therapy Cleveland”. Ranking for this term is more likely to generate traffic that will call your office and schedule for an appointment. Here’s a link to a video that describes this term.
Use a Couple Free Tools
As you categorize your terms, you should use research tools to help you narrow down your list. If you’re on a budget, free tools like Buzzsumo or Moz.com can help you find websites similar to yours, and will allow you to study what makes these sites work. These tools allow you to see how well your website is doing, as well as how it compares to other competitors. By studying your competitors, you can get a better sense of how to optimize your website.
DO NOT Keyword Stuff Your Blog Posts or Pages
Lastly, after all your research, implement your keywords strategically. In order to improve your search rankings, you want to use your list of keywords effectively. It’s not enough to just copy and paste them in a list on your website, or heavily use them in your blog posts to push spammy messages hoping you will rank on page one. In fact, those strategies could hurt your ranking. Instead, create unique and valuable content that uses your keywords at part of a theme. For example, let’s say one of your keywords is “Physical therapy Nashville.” A blog post about staying injury-free before you take advantage of outdoor recreational activities in one of Nashville’s many parks, can generate more relevance than a generic blog post on physical therapy in Nashville.
By picking and choosing your keywords based on your own knowledge and some simple analysis, you’ll be more likely to create a successful web presence for your business. To learn more about SEO research, contact us.